2 Days in Edinburgh – CITY BREAK TRAVEL GUIDE

I’ve wanted to visit the Scottish capital for as long as I can remember.  When the opportunity arose to spend 2 days in Edinburgh I couldn’t say no to a quick city break.  I was searching on Expedia for flights and hotels for trips to Edinburgh and I found some great deals.  I found a lovely hotel with a large discount because it had been newly listed and the flight times were just perfect for me.

There’s so much choice for things to do in Edinburgh and my dream itinerary was coming together perfectly.  I literally thought, if I don’t book this city break now, I never will, so my decision was made and I was looking forward to my 2 days in Edinburgh before I knew it!

bagpipes kilts Edinburgh

When the day came around for my Edinburgh weekend break, I was feeling really excited.   There’s something about getting on a plane, even for a domestic flight, that makes me really happy.  As the plane left East Midlands airport for Edinburgh I was wondering what the city would be like. Would I like it as much as I thought? Would I get through all the fun activities in Edinburgh I had planned.  I love how visiting a new place answers all these questions and finding out the answers is always so much fun.

2 Days in Edinburgh

Day 1 – Fun Places in Edinburgh

I took the tram into Edinburgh and throughly enjoyed the views of open fields and blue skies along the way.  It looked like the weather was going to be on my side and I couldn’t wait to get started exploring the city.  I got off the tram in Edinburgh’s West End and went in search of the National Galleries of Scotland.  It was about a 15 minute walk but it was well worth it.  I stumbled across some amazing architecture and it gave me a real feel for the city.

Edinburgh street west end

Modern One – National Galleries of Scotland

I love to understand the culture of a city when I visit.  A visit to a local art gallery really helps with this so I added it to the list of things to do. The Modern One really celebrates how the city of Edinburgh supports local art culture and up and coming talented artists.  It’s a really feel good place and well worth a visit.

The building and gardens are stunning, and really set the scene for what I was about to find inside.  I really enjoyed seeing the exhibitions here and the cafe was also the perfect place to stop for lunch. It proved popular with locals and visitors alike.

When you are looking up what’s on in Edinburgh make sure you check out the latest exhibitions and activities at the National Galleries of Scotland for a modern yet grounded take on new art.

Modern One Art Gallery

After a lovely visit to the National Galleries of Scotland I ventured into central Edinburgh on foot.  One thing that really struck me was how friendly the people were.  Everyone had a smile on their face and people were more than happy to help if I needed directions or help in anyway.  You couldn’t ask for a better welcome if you ask me.

The Scotch Whisky Experience

After a little more exploring the city and enjoying the views over Princes Street Gardens I decided it was time to tick that whisky box at one of Edinburgh’s best visitor attractions.  I didn’t know what to expect from The Scotch Whisky Experience, but when it comes to things to do in Edinburgh I can strongly recommend this attraction.  It all started with me sitting inside a whisky barrel and going on an interactive journey with the ghost of Douglas McIntyre. Sounds fun already doesn’t it?

The Scotch Whisky Experience

I learned lots about making whisky and how the taste and colour varies depending on the region it comes from.  When I left the exhibition I really felt like I had had fun and I learned lots of new things.  If you were visiting Edinburgh with kids you could still visit here, but maybe not let them taste the samples!

Camera Obscura

I was keen to fit in one more visitor attraction before heading to the hotel that evening.  I was delighted when I realised that Camera Obscura was open until 7pm and it was just across the road from The Scotch Whisky Experience.

Edinburgh Castle at night

I started at the top, and thoroughly enjoyed taking a step out onto the roof tops to see the views of Edinburgh Castle and the surrounding area.  Each floor is packed with interactive experiences including a mirrored maze and a spinning light tunnel.  There are 150 hands on experiences inside Camera Obscura, making it a fun attraction in Edinburgh whether you are travelling solo, as a couple or with family.

Take a look at my YouTube video about visiting Edinburgh.  You’ll love the mirrored maze, I’m sure!

Heading to the Hotel

After a very fun packed day in Edinburgh I decided it was time to head to the hotel, and rest my tired feet for the night.  I was looking forward to a quiet night after a very busy day, and the Hampton by Hilton was the perfect place to recharge my batteries before day 2 in Edinburgh commenced.  The check in was super quick and I was in my room within minutes.

My hotel room for the night was very modern and clean and it was lovely to have lots of space.  It had lots of sockets and USB ports so I could charge my phone and laptop ready for the next day. The bed was so comfy for both watching TV and sleeping.

Expedia hotel booking

Breakfast was included in my Expedia booking at the Hampton by Hilton and it turned out to be the perfect start to my day.  I sat in a booth and fuelled up on fresh coffee and orange juice along side my buffet English breakfast.  I was impressed that there were waffle machines to use, but sadly I couldn’t fit in another morsel.  Next time I’ll remember to try them first or save room!

Day 2 Edinburgh Itinerary

I checked out of the hotel feeling fully prepared for day 2 of my Edinburgh city break with Expedia.  I headed towards the famous Royal Mile in search of more sight seeing and to check out the Edinburgh guided tours.  The buildings in Edinburgh are just beautiful and I strongly suggest you give yourself plenty of time to appreciate them.

Edinburgh Festival centre

I found the Edinburgh Festival Centre along my route and stopped to view it from every angle I could.  It certainly makes an impression on Edinburgh’s skyline as it towers above the Old Town.  They were just opening when I arrived, so I was able to take a quick peak inside as well.  If the cafe had of been open, I think I would have had to stop for coffee whether I had of needed one or not.

Royal Mile

If you visit Edinburgh, I strongly recommend making ample time to explore the Royal Mile.  It’s the perfect place to find the best Edinburgh tour guides for a start.  It runs downhill between Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Palace and is literally a fascinating place.  There are lots of nooks and crannies to explore from either side, and you find yourself needing to go and take a little peek down most of them.

St Giles Cathedral

St Giles Cathedral Edinburgh

I am far from a religious person, but I do like visiting churches and cathedrals.  When I spotted St Giles Cathedral I couldn’t wait to see inside.  Its free to enter, but if you want to take photos you need to pay £2.  I’m pretty sure you will want to take photos as the inside of this cathedral is just beautiful with a stunning ceiling and ornate stained glass windows.  There is also a cafe with toilets downstairs which I used for a quick pitstop.

Royal Mile Market & Tron Kirk

I spotted what looked like another church a little way down the Royal Mile and decided to investigate further.  When I got closer, I realised that there was a market inside.  I love a market, and popped in for a browse and found some beautiful locally made crafts, clothes and gifts.  If you enjoy locally handmade items, this is certainly a good place to visit in Edinburgh for shopping.

Royal Walking Tour

church royal mile edinburgh

I was very keen to learn more about the city, and I joined the Mercat Royal Walking Tour to find out more about the history of the Royal Mile.  This was a great city tour as it was packed with lots of information about all the people who had made an impact on Edinburgh’s rich and sometimes colourful history.  The Edinburgh sightseeing tour ended at Holyrood Palace, which sits at the bottom of the Royal Mile and makes for another interesting place to visit.

Holyrood Palace

Holyrood Palace is the Queen’s official residence in Scotland and she stays here every summer.  Whilst she’s not in residence, you can go inside and explore the Royal Palace with an audio tour.  The building and it’s contents are fascinating, and as I moved from room to room I learned lots about the people that have stayed here including the ill fated Mary Queen of Scots.

Holyrood Castle Edinburgh

The People’s Story

Having seen Edinburgh from the Royal’s perspective, I decided to visit The People’s Story on my way back up the Royal Mile.  This is an interesting museum which recreates day to day life of the people who lived in the area between the 18th and 20th century.  There is definitely a sense of riches in the city when you see the elaborate buildings, but working class people across the same period experienced a great deal of poverty and over crowding was a real issue for them.

Edinburgh Castle

I don’t think any city break in Edinburgh would be complete without a visit to Edinburgh Castle and I’m so pleased I was able to tick it off my list.  The views over the centre of Edinburgh are absolutely stunning and the castle is a very interesting place to explore as well.

canon and view over Edinburgh

The exhibitions include a display of the oldest crown jewels in the British Isles as well the Scottish National Memorial of War.  There is clearly a strong military connection at the castle but one of the most interesting exhibits is about the prisoners of war that were held here from all over the world, in pretty squalid conditions by anyones standards.

Edinburgh’s Christmas Market

If you are looking for things to do in Edinburgh in December, then visiting the famous Christmas market has to be at the top of your list.  It’s spectacularly huge, and sadly I didn’t have enough time to see it all as there are rows upon rows of stalls, rides and things to see.  I could have spent hours here, and a serious amount of money if I hadn’t of had to catch the plane back to East Midlands that evening.  I can certainly see why Edinburgh is a popular destination in the winter!

If you are looking to book a city break, then make sure you visit Expedia to check out there latest deals and discounts.  It’s a great one stop shop that lets you find the perfect hotel, travel and transfer arrangements all from one travel website.

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I was invited to spend 2 days in Edinburgh with Expedia as apart of their #expediacitybreak & #expediastaycation campaign. 

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2 Day Travel Guide For Visiting Edinburgh in Scotland. The best places to visit during a short city break in Scotland's capital #Edinburgh #Scotland #visitEdinburgh #travelguide

 

Zena

Zena is a 40ish year old Mum with 3 kids and UK travel blogger who is keen to pursue her passion for exploring despite being a busy parent. She’s also partial to coffee and chocolate.

18 Comments

  1. December 13, 2017 / 3:32 pm

    Aww reading this reminds me of such a fun holiday I went on to Edinburgh a few years ago. We also visited Camera Obscura, which was so interesting and interactive 🙂
    Helen recently posted…TOYS: The 360° Dolls House from Little TikesMy Profile

  2. December 13, 2017 / 8:15 pm

    wow you squeezed so much in!!! I loved camera obscura and Edinburgh castle … such a gorgeous city and beautiful at this time of year x
    katy recently posted…Planning a family friendly holidayMy Profile

  3. Margaret Gallagher
    December 13, 2017 / 11:13 pm

    Such an AMAZING city
    Went last year for the day – the markets are amazing
    The CASTLE is always a favourite

  4. December 14, 2017 / 5:17 am

    It has been over 10 years since I last went to Edinburgh and honestly don’t remember much but clearly I am missing out. I often book my flights and hotel separately but will be checking out Expedia and see what deals I can get.
    Anosa recently posted…How to Spend a Day in Mainz #solo adventuresMy Profile

  5. December 14, 2017 / 9:29 am

    So many fab things to do! It’s been a long time since I went to Edinburgh – back in uni days -and I feel there is so much there I haven’t seen so would love to go back.

  6. December 14, 2017 / 9:58 am

    We have never been to Edinburgh , although it is on our bucket list . Looks so pretty , I am a sucker for pretty castles 🙂
    Kira recently posted…Betty Box ReviewMy Profile

  7. December 15, 2017 / 11:50 am

    It looks like such a lovely place. I’ve never been before and it’s definitely a place I know my other half would love with all those historical sites.

  8. Kirsteen Mackay
    December 15, 2017 / 10:01 pm

    Wow, looks like you had a lovely time in Edinburgh. I’d love to go to the Christmas markets, I’ve heard such great things about them.

  9. Sandra Bald
    December 31, 2017 / 7:06 pm

    I love Edinburgh, it’s 1 of my favourite UK cities. We’re so fortunate as my in-laws live nearby & we get the chance to go into Edinburgh whenever we’re visiting.
    So looking forward to our next visit in April 2018.

  10. Jayne Townson
    January 1, 2018 / 10:03 pm

    Edinburgh is on my wish list too, so I really enjoyed this post. Sounds like it’s well worth a visit.

  11. April 20, 2018 / 9:00 am

    It is good you found some good prices to Edinburgh, it is not always cheap to travel in Scotland.

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Whether you are looking for travel tips to make the most of your next cruise holiday or you need UK travel ideas we’ve got you covered on Zena’s Suitcase UK travel blog.  We started sharing our holiday and travel reviews in 2013, so if you can’t find the travel, family or lifestyle blog above you are after make sure you head over to the search bar to find what you need.  Think of us as one of the best travel blogs brimming with ideas to get you out and about with and without the kids.

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